Public Health

What to Do During a Hurricane

A senior couple packs their car to prepare for a hurricane.

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If you’re new to Florida or haven’t lived near the ocean, you’ve likely never experienced — or learned to prepare for — a tropical storm or hurricane. While the prospect of such a storm making landfall in your area can be quite frightening (and with good reason), knowing you’re prepared can go a long way in calming your spirit during hurricane season.

Understand Hurricanes and the Dangers

At this time of year, tropical weather systems can quickly intensify into monstrous storms called hurricanes. These storms develop over the water and then move inland, sometimes as far as 100 miles.

With their violent winds, heavy rainfall, flooding and storm surges, hurricanes can cause a great deal of damage to your property and put your friends and family in harm's way.

Know When Hurricanes Are Most Likely for Your Area

Knowing when your area might expect these powerful storms is the first step in preparing for them. Hurricane season varies by region:

  • Northwest Pacific: May 15 through November 30
  • Pacific: May 15 to November 30
  • Atlantic: June 1 through November 30 (September is most active)

Put Together a Hurricane Survival Kit

Have these emergency supplies ready in case a storm affects your area:

  • Can opener (manual)
  • Cash (ATMs may not be functional)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Extra batteries (9-volt, AAA, AA, C and D)
  • Extra fuel for your generator
  • Family and emergency contact numbers
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight (s)
  • Food (3-day supply of easy-to-prepare, non-perishable food)
  • Masks for contaminated air
  • Medications (7-day supply)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • NOAA weather or hand-crank radio
  • Personal documents
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Pet supplies
  • Water (three gallons per person set aside for evacuation, 14 gallons per person stored at home)

Pack your supplies in a plastic container with a lid that snaps securely, and make sure it’s both easy to carry and grab when needed.

Create a Hurricane Plan

Since hurricanes develop first at sea and are slow-moving, you'll have a warning before they come ashore. Working in advance to put a hurricane plan in place can help reduce fear and anxiety and keep you safe.

Through the news and forecasts, you can follow the storm as it moves toward you and enact your plan accordingly.

Here are lists of things you can do to prepare in the days and hours leading up to the storm's landfall.

36 Hours From Landfall

  • Fill up your vehicles' gas tanks.
  • Stay up to date on sheltering information.
  • Know your evacuation zone and what route to take when evacuations are issued.
  • If you're in an evacuation zone, pack your belongings and leave right away.
  • Plan extra travel time as roads may be congested and travel could be slow-going.
  • Drive safely and try to stay calm. Everyone on the road will also be stressed and scared, and you want to avoid accidents and incidents.
  • Monitor local community warning systems and National Weather System alerts.
  • Place sandbags around your home if you live in a flood zone.
  • Plan how to communicate with family during and after the storm.
  • Restock your emergency survival kit if necessary.

18 - 36 Hours From Landfall

  • Add tie-downs to sheds and outdoor buildings.
  • Board up windows with ½ inch marine plywood (or install storm shutters).
  • Clean debris from gutters, downspouts and drains.
  • Consider turning off your central heating and air conditioner to avoid damage during power surges.
  • Continue to monitor local community warning systems and National Weather System alerts.
  • Place gravel under downspouts to prevent washout.
  • Remove awnings.
  • Secure outdoor items.
  • Unplug small appliances, computers and non-essential electronic devices.

6 - 18 hours From Landfall

  • Charge your mobile phone.
  • Continue to monitor local community warning systems and National Weather System alerts.

6 Hours From Landfall

  • Charge your mobile phone.
  • Close storm shutters and doors not yet secured.
  • Continue to monitor local community warning systems and National Weather System alerts every 30 minutes.
  • Let other family members know where you're riding out the storm.
  • Stay indoors, away from windows, glass doors and skylights and be ready to move to your safe room.
  • Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting to preserve food for as long as possible once the power goes out.

During the Hurricane


  • Continue to monitor local community warning systems and National Weather System alerts every 30 minutes.
  • Evacuate immediately if told to by authorities.
  • If flood waters rise, move to a higher floor if possible.
  • Inform your family of the evacuation route.
  • Keep your emergency supplies with you, as well as pillows and blankets to cover yourself if necessary.
  • Shelter indoors in your home's safest location.
  • Stay inside, in an interior room, closet or bathroom on the lowest level of your home.

Do not:

  • Drive on flooded streets or over downed power lines.
  • Go around barricades.
  • Go near windows, glass, doors and skylights.

After the Hurricane

  • Avoid electrical equipment that's near or in the water.
  • Avoid walking, wading or driving through flood waters (it takes very little water to pull you under or wash away your vehicle).
  • Continue to monitor local community warning systems and National Weather System alerts every 30 minutes.
  • Turn off the power at the main breaker.
  • Use your mobile phone only as needed to inform your family you're safe (Cellular providers may have damage to their towers, or their systems may be overloaded from high call volume).
  • Wear protective clothing when beginning cleanup, both indoors and outside.

Learn More

Have more hurricane preparedness questions? Your AdventHealth Well 65+ care team is here to help guide you through the season. Ask a team member for more information.

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